Grades: San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks – Game #26

Playing without Victor Wembanyama due to ankle soreness, the San Antonio Spurs ended up losing to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night by a final score of 132-119. The Spurs are now 4-22, while the Bucks are 20-7.

San Antonio scored the first basket of the game. Sadly, the good times were short-lived. Milwaukee responded with a 21-1 run to take control of the game. 

From then on, the Spurs were able to rally a few times to trim the deficit to single-digits. However, the Bucks were always able to turn up the intensity a little bit and San Antonio’s run would be thwarted. While the final score looks respectable, Milwaukee was never truly in danger of losing the game after their early run.

Stats: Spurs at Bucks

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Spurs at Bucks – Final Grades

Devin Vassell

It was an inefficient night on the offensive end for Vassell. His main problem against the Bucks was that he wasn’t playing within the offense. Instead, he missed open teammates to hunt his own shots. Vassell’s poor passing hurt the team and he also wasn’t playing much defense on the other end. It wasn’t his fault the Spurs lost but he has to play a smarter brand of basketball for San Antonio to have success.

Grade: C-

Keldon Johnson

Johnson deserves a round of applause for how he performed in Milwaukee. He basically willed the Spurs back into the game by brute force. Rather than firing contested three-pointers, Johnson muscled his way to the rim and refused to be denied. The result was a team-high 28 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the field and 10-of-12 shooting from the free throw line. Johnson turned it over too much (5) and his defense was nothing to write home about but without his stubbornness to excel on offense, the Spurs would have been blown out of the water.

Grade: A

Jeremy Sochan

The good: Sochan almost finished with a sneaky triple-double. He ended up with nine points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists in 33 minutes. He also didn’t turn the ball over. As the numbers suggest, Sochan had a really good evening in terms of passing and pulling down caroms. This was easily his best playmaking performance since losing the starting point guard gig. Defensively, I thought Sochan was better than average. The bad: Sochan’s jumper looks broken. The rotation on his shots is wonky beyond belief. His confidence also appears to be on life support right now. When he makes a mistake, he’s not moving on to the next play quick enough.

Grade: B

Malaki Branham

After doing next to nothing in the first half, Branham came alive in the second half. He tallied ten of his 12 points after halftime. At times, it seemed like getting him the ball was the easiest way for the Spurs to score. In retrospect, Branham being invisible was a main reason why the Spurs got off to such a slow start. If he’s going to keep the starting job, he has to bring the juice on a consistent basis. Branham can score and even pass a little bit … if he’s locked in.

Grade: B-

Zach Collins

Considering Collins’ shooting struggles this season, it was great to see him knock down four three-pointers. Overall, he did well on the offensive end. He scored in the paint, he authored smart passes and he played with physicality. Defensively, I wasn’t as impressed. Sometimes he guarded the rim well but his rotations were too slow more often than not. He also lacked discipline when going to help. Add in four turnovers and Collins’ lack of cleanliness surely didn’t help San Antonio’s cause.

Grade: B-

Tre Jones

In the first half, Jones did well. With the offense sputtering, he took the reins and performed admirably. His 12 first half points kept the Spurs in it and was exactly what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, his offense was apparently lost during the halftime break. In the third and fourth quarters, Jones didn’t do a whole lot of anything. He had some decent passes but his defense got worse and he missed three of his four shots from the field.

Grade: B-

Cedi Osman

More good stuff from Osman. His violent drives to the basket help give the bench unit an edge. Osman has been playing with purpose lately, which is actually more impressive than it sounds — especially on this Spurs team that routinely lacks self-assuredness. Defensively, he could have been better. He gambled a bit too much and the Bucks made him pay.

Grade: B

Sandro Mamukelashvili

Mamukelashvili did a lot in his 15 minutes on the court. During that time, he fired four three-pointers, grabbed eight rebounds, handed out three assists and rejected two shots. While there was a lot of action, it wasn’t all positive. Mamukelashvili struggled to shoot and his defense wasn’t too impactful. His overall production was impressive but I can’t say with confidence that he actually moved the needle in a positive direction.

Grade: B-

Doug McDermott

McDermott went scoreless in 13 minutes. He also picked up three fouls. The silver lining to his evening was the combination of his nonstop movement and his quick-decision passing. That allowed him to not be a complete negative when he was on the hardwood.

Grade: C-

Dominick Barlow

Barlow showed some interesting things. His three-point stroke looks better than the last time I saw it. He also attempted a super athletic finish at the rim. Barlow moves like an NBA player. It’ll be interesting to see if he ever gets an extended opportunity this season to enter the rotation.

Grade: B

Julian Champagnie

Champagnie only played the final two minutes of the game.

Grade: Inc. 

Pop

Winning this game wasn’t going to happen — no matter what the coaching staff did. However, I would have appreciated more tinkering from Pop when things went awry early. Champagnie hit five three-pointers in the fourth quarter against the Pelicans and then only plays two minutes tonight? Strange. A few more plays for Branham early on could have helped him get going.

Grade: C